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Liverpool Daily Post report


LIVERPOOL, mighty and magnificent, confirmed themselves as European champions at Wembley last night, although they could manage only one Kenny Dalglish goal to emphasise their entitlement of the crown.

Scenes of tremendous jubilation among the Liverpool-dominated Wembley crowd were accompanied by rapturous scenes on the field with players hugging each other and dancing delight-edly as manager Bob Paisley joined his conquering heroes.

Trailing behind them towards the Royal Box were the dejected Belgians Bruges, who could hardly raise a gallop.

Emlyn Hughes and one of the heroes of the game, Graeme Sou-ness, emerged with the cup to begin a lap of honour, but soon Hughes joined McDermott in dancing his way to salute the fans who had supported them so magat Wembley nificently and so vociferously throughout the game. There was a sporting cheer, too, for the Belgians, as first they stopped to applaud Liverpool and then take their circuit of the stadium.

The scenes of jubilation surpassed those in Rome last year simply because nine-tenths of the crowd were sporting Liverpool favours. Liverpool not only made history by being the first British team to win the European Cup twice in succession but they did it in style and with authority.

It undoubtedly took Liverpool longer to crush the Belgian challenge than they had counted on, and in fact it was a tentative start with both teams eyeing each other with the suspicion of boxers embarking on 15 rounds.

It took 64 minutes before the crowd were able to let themselves go in salute of a Dalglish gem of a goal. It was a long time coming but well worthy of the wait.

One instinctively felt that this single breach in the Bruges wall would engulf them, and so it was, but not before Liverpool survived as hair-raising a moment as football can provide. They had been in the lead for only 15 minutes when a degree of hesitancy by Alan Hansen let in Sorensen. Clemence - what a magnificent reader of the game he is - ran out and deflected Sorensen's shot.

It went to Simoen, who fired at what seemed an open goal. Even as the ball was in the act of crossing the line at the foot of the post Phil Thompson swooped in to kick clear.

It was a horrifying moment, and a tremendous relief to young Hansen who had settled down from a tentative beginning to play like a Wembley veteran instead of the comparative novice he is.

Liverpool will look back on this night with undiluted joy and the 65th minute, when Kenny Dalglish's goal threatened to raise the roof, will never be forgotten.

It was Souness, with one of his multitude of delicate flicks, who found Terry McDermott, who never stopped running, out on the wing. A Dalglish overhead kick was pushed out by goalkeeper Jensen and from a Belgian point of view it could not have been a more ill-directed punch. The ball flew to Souness and another brilliant pass sent Dalglish racing on to the ball.

Although angled and covered by Jensen, Dalglish, with commendable calm, flipped the ball over the goalkeeper and into the net. It was a magnificent exhibition of the striker's art.

It was a remarkable coincidence that Dalglish - Keegan's successor - should make himself the hero of Wembley just as Keegan had put himself into the superstar category in Rome.

Despite the long delay for a goal, nobody could point an accusing finger at any of the Liverpool side. They were heroes all, and Bob Paisley's decision to include Fairclough for Heighway was amply justified by events.

Although the youngster's speed and enthusiasm often made him a ready victim for the offside trap, he was clearly one of the men Bruges earmarked as likely to give them most trouble.

Happily for everybody, the manager was able to fulfil his promise of introducing Heighway in the second half as replacement for Case, who had not by any means disappointed. Heighway had only been on the field one minute when Dalglish swooped and Heighway's contribution was such that Bruges were no doubt happy that they had to contend with him for less than half-an-hour. Case became the first booking of the match, but the score was evened up when van der Eycken's name followed in the book.

It was when it was beginning to appear that Liverpool had not enough tricks up their sleeve to shatter the defensive excellence of the team that had subdued Juventus that Case raised hopes when he blasted a free-kick through the wall for Jensen to make a tremendous save.

It may not have been the breakthrough but it marked Liverpool's appearance in the driving seat as they took total charge. Even so, there seemed then a lot of poetic licence in the Kop's chant "Why are we so great?"

Liverpool fired a warning shot across the bows when Souness cracked a tremendous shot only narrowly over the bar.

Three minutes before the interval, McDermott served Fair-clough like a waiter at a table, but Jensen flung himself at Fair-clough's feet as the youngster saw glory slip from his grasp.

Soon after half-time, Bruges were happy to kick clear after Fairclough had crossed to the front of goal with Case challenging. A groan that could probably be heard as far away as Mersey-side swept the ground in 49 minutes when a heaven-sent opportunity was presented to McDermott by Souness and Dalglish.

McDermott, racing into the clear, was faced only by the goal-keeper. Here was Rome seen unfolding again, with McDermott cast in the role of opening scorer. His shot was charged down by Jensen. It was a brilliant save but appreciation of the fact did nothing to reduce Liverpool's disappointment.

Bruges's challenges were few and far between and came mainly after Liverpool's goal but with only one goal in it, every advance was like a dagger thrust at the heart of Liverpool fans.

Still, in the end, there was no doubt that the team which had made all the play and over 90% of the attacks received the reward they had earned and can rightly rejoice in their title - European Champions.

LIVERPOOL: Clemence; Neal, Thompson, Hansen, Hughes; Case (Heighway 63), McDermott, Souness, Kennedy, Dalglish, Fairclough.

FC BRUGES: Jensen; Bastijns, Leekens, Krieger, Maes (Volders 70); Cools, van der Eycken, Ku (Sanders 60), de Cubber; Simoen, Sorensen.

REFEREE: Mr Charles Corver (Holland)

ATT: 92,000

MAN OF THE MATCH: Graeme Souness - A veritable box of tricks with his wide array of passing and subtle midfield manoeuvres, it was apt he should be the man to provide Liverpool's winner.

Copyright - Horace Yates Liverpool Daily Post

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